That Lying Beggar Auntie

by Daniel Yap

So there is finally a newspaper report about her scams. Wanbao followed up on a lead through STOMP and discovered that this auntie makes over a thousand dollars a night begging, lying and scamming. She has asked me for $500 before, but then I uncovered her scam over 45 minutes once I bought her tea.

She cries, lies, and makes more money on one weekend than you do in a month. Photo linked from STOMP

I first met her in front of Red Dot Building in Tanjong Pagar on a weekday afternoon, maybe in 2012. She was sobbing and crying to a bunch of young office workers as I walked past on an errand. On the way back I saw she was still there sobbing by the pavement and stopped to try and help. She said she was hungry and I offered to take her to Maxwell Market to buy food. She declined. I offered to buy her tar pao food from Maxwell. She then claimed that her leg hurt and she wanted to rest there, and that I should just give her $5 instead so that she could go buy food later when she felt better.

She claimed to live in Ghim Moh and was only here in Chinatown (Tanjong Pagar actually, but I shan’t quibble) to meet someone who owed her money but who refused to return it. She said her children had abandoned her and that she had lived a “good life” but had been “taken advantage of”. She said that she worked at some big local company (I forget which) as a secretary but that she had been cheated of all her savings. She even invoked the name of some church she had attended and that was how she knew the person who owed her money, she said. She gave the impression that this was a temporary situation.

I was heading back to the office so just gave her the $5 and wished her well.

In 2013, I saw her again in Holland V (where I live), which didn’t raise alarm bells for me because she said she lived in Ghim Moh. She was sobbing along the pavement again and I came up to her to ask what had happened about that loan, and why was she begging still. When she realised that I had given her money before, her eyes lit up. I thought it was because of familiarity, but now I realise she saw me as easy prey.

This explained what she said next.

Her momentary flash of recognition quickly faded into sobbing again as she poured out a tale of how she had been a guarantor for a church friend’s son, but that both son and friend had defaulted and that she was left in the lurch. (In retrospect, I now realise how foolish a notion this is – that a penniless old woman could act as guarantor for a loan). The bank was after her. SHE ASKED ME FOR A $500 “LOAN”.

I don’t know why, but I still had a soft spot for her and I knew that I would never see the money again, but I wanted to do my due diligence and help her sort out a better solution to the “grave injustice” that had been done to her. I offered to buy her tea at the HV market and tried to uncover her story and talk to the players to reach a better outcome. Oh, how it unravelled from there.

She would make fake calls on her phone without actually dialling numbers, and furnished me with names and contacts that didn’t exist. She declined to say which bank the alleged loan was from. Nothing existed. I declined to give her $500.

She then proceeded to chide me for leaving her to suffer and die. I told her to go away, and she eventually did.

A friend of mine who worked at a market food stall (we were having tea at the market) then came up to me and told me about this woman. She knows about this old woman with the crocodile tears and the bag full of lies. She, and other stall operators, have seen her frequently begging and scamming in HV. She is not poor at all, my friend explained. She could be seen walking into the 7-11 or other shops nearby to change her small notes into 50s, and would change $400 or $500 at a time (the retail assistants would tell her, as they bought drinks from my friend’s stall). She made over $1,000 at each outing. Maybe more. The news reports say that she deposits the cash into a bank account, which I suspect contains more cash than some people’s CPF accounts.

The next time I saw her in HV, I asked her loudly who else she was planning to lie to today. She gave me a dirty, irritated look, seeing how I was blowing her cover and revealing the scam that she was running. If I see her doing this nonsense again, I think I will call the police and get them involved. It’s all on record now.

I’m glad the press has blown the cover on this woman’s disgusting antics. We have genuinely poor people working hard to make ends meet, and here is some greedy, rich scammer beggar sucking up money that should be going to properly-governed charities, like the now-renewed NKF, or to the folks at the rental flats nearby.

And for the rest of us – don’t be taken for a ride like I was.




  1. Just bumped into her tonight in Raffles Place area. Asked for bus money. I said no at first and walked on, then circled back out of sympathy to maybe hail and pay for a cab for her. Before I reached her, I saw her pull out a wad of cash.


  2. Hi!! Omg googled “boat quay tissue aunty” and was linked to this blog entry.

    Just want to share an encounter we had with the old lady.. Don’t know if we will get into any trouble.. (?)

    It was abt 11:45pm when bf n I were waiting for our takeouts at the boat quay mcdonald. The old lady called out to us to help her into the McDonald as there was a step and she is unable to step up on her own cos her legs were aching. (And we were just standing near the entry of the mcd)

    We helped her in, and she started sharing her story with us. She was talking quite loud, loud enough for the people in the surrounding to hear. She said that she’s 81, she had a fall which she “almost died” from and she “thank god for being alive”.. She came into mcd to change her coins into $50 note with the mcd manager. She then continued talking to us, trying to engage us in small talks in different dialects which we did talk a bit with her. (felt bad to ignore her)

    She mentioned that she has to go over to ocbc bank opposite to deposit a $500 into her friend’s account. And she asked if we could help her with that! I’ve read of how people will try to con others into helping them with the ATMs and stuff, but at that point of time I couldn’t rmb what we should / shouldn’t do. She also asked if my bf drives so she can hitch a ride over to the ocbc bank?! We had a soft spot for old ppl so we eventually lombang her over to the ocbc bank. (we parked illegally for a while so car was jus outside mcd)

    While in the car, there were some commotion among some young guys in office wear as they saw her in the front passenger seat. (Unwind windows, heard the commotion and noticed some pin-pointing, btw couldn’t let her in back seat cos car is two doors, more convenient for her to take front seat, considering her legs are aching)

    We heard the guys saying “wa, the tissue aunty son drives vw!” in mandarin. (!!!) my bf replied to them “I’m not her son!” Lol. Don’t know if they heard or not, but it was when we felt that something is not right as there’s actually ppl recognizing her!?

    In the car she started asking if we want to be her grandchildren, when asked about her own children, she said they “neglected her”, “don’t even know where they are staying” and “Chinese new year also nvr visit me” etc.

    Okok nvm, so we dropped her off at the ocbc opposite the mcd. She wanted to just remain in the car while we help her with the deposit!!! I said no, we had to get down tgt and she has to deposit on her own. She claimed that she can’t see well, and requested me to help her key in the account no. of which she showed me on a piece of paper tgt with some church brochures. I punched the account numbers for her as per what I see on the paper. ( I know that there’s camera in every ATM / deposit machines.. I don’t know if I’ll kena anything? Like cheating her money or what??)

    I did ask her why didn’t her friend deposit on his/her own, she just said cos her friend is “older than her” and “does not know how to use the machine” she was very defensive when I asked that question tho. Especially when I asked her who usually deposit the money for her. She defensively replied that she “doesn’t deposit money often, only today” Weird right.

    After depositing the $500 into “her friend’s account”, she tried to ask us to send her back to her place at ghim moh!! I helped her to walk out of the bank, and cos there’s some stairs, so we took quite a while to get to the road side. My bf was hailing a cab for her while I helped her down from the bank. She started to hint me with the $4 in her hand and claimed that she “doesn’t have enough money for cab” I don’t know what happened to her and the cab driver. just helped her up the cab and left without giving her any cash. Don’t know if we just did the right thing?? So decided to google abt her and landed in this page!! What a pro scammer/actress she is!!

    She can speak English, mandarin, and few other dialects; Cantonese and hokkien. I guess based on the comments here, she’s been using the same story like “she fell down and is neglected by her kids”. :/


    1. Wow, that woman got rewlly thick skin. I wonder where she lives. Is it really Ghim Moh? I live near there, and always wonder if I will see her in “notmal mode” going around with no fake pain, buying groceries something. Every con will have some small shred of truth. I wonder if this is it.


  3. She’s doing her thing again at peace centre! No wonder I’ve found her familiar.
    Crying to a Caucasian guy. Can someone arrest her already?!


  4. Yesterday we saw her at chinatown. She was crying and screaming and babbling something in cantonese she was crying so badly my dad gave her $5. She didnt even say thankyou and just grabbed the money and put it in her pocket machiam we owe her like thaT. My mum got angry and told him not to give but he gave anywaY. A few hours later we saw her at far east square trying to get ang mohs to give her money. she walked passed my family again and kept crying and this time we were just very skeptical so we walked away. Today i came across this article, and i felt so cheated. It may just be $5 but imagine if everyone gave her $5… yea and since now is cny, peoplethought like so poor thing this old woman nobody to spend cny with and give her more money. Please be wary of her. Still doing this in 2015. The next time i see her i will ask loud loud who she planning to chest today hahaha!


  5. hey I chance your page and this old lady was actually begging outside Mui Mui paragon just two weeks ago. She grabbed my hands and started wailing so loudly, I had no choice but to give her 5 dollars ( the smallest bill I tried finding) and to just shoo her off.

    What a trickster .


  6. This Aunty is always seen outside PwC in Cross Street. Whenever she see Partners of the firm (slightly more well-dressed gentlemen), she will start sobbing and asking for money. I always see her around the building because there used to be DBS ATM below the building. Lol


  7. Something is wrong somewhere if young people nowadays would want to scold and shame and old lady like this. To be fair, to cheat $500 from someone is too much but there’s no need to threaten, scold, or make this story any bigger than it already is. Having the awareness that this person isn’t honest and is out to cheat our money is enough. Those who are aware of what this lady is doing should just avoid her. Maybe let others know. No need to resort to any physical or verbal threats. Letting an old lady beg/scam, whatever you want to call it, $2, $5 or $10 from someone who can afford it isn’t that much of harm. Do remember she’s probably 60-70 years old. We don’t know her stories or reasons why she’s doing what she’s doing. There are always two sides to a story. Just be tolerant and be kind.


  8. My friend got scammed before and one day, she chanced upon your article and shared it with us.

    Today, at Peace centre, I saw a guy gave her some coins for the tissue. He was going to walk off when she stopped him to ask for more money because she has not eaten. I walked up to him and told him not to, informing him that this auntie is a scammer.
    she hit me with her umbrella! And shouted at me, saying (in mandarin) that she isn’t a scammer. I replied her back in mandarin: auntie you better not hit me again, or I will call the police.

    And that kept her mouth shut.
    More people needs to know about this!


  9. So lucky to have chanced upon this article, I swear !! I always give her money every time I see her !
    Feeling so cheated right now.
    It’s sad to see that there are people out there like this . Never going to give her any more money after this . There are some others who are selling tissues or other stuff as well because they’re probably struggling, unlike her .
    Thanks for posting this !


  10. Have shared this page on my facebook “Dawn Chan”. We need more people to a stop to this!! If we see her next time video down for evidence and send it to the police!!


    1. Odd thing is that once I considered all the possibilities, I felt that the police would also be hard-pressed to do anything. What this woman is doing is immoral but not illegal. And she doesn’t always beg. Sometimes she asks for a “loan”… And it is up to us to decide to give of our free will. Too bad lying isn’t a crime.


  11. To those that do not wished to get “cheated” by her, kindly just ignore or deny helping her.. But to those that been spreading and saying bad stuff about this auntie, especially the one that posted this in a very emotional negative tone, you are just as disgusted as what the auntie had done. Regardless of how bad or poor she behaves, she eventually is a an auntie who already in her golden years.

    Put yourself in her situation. Will you be able to live happier someone were to do the same exact thing to you, post it out online and talking bad about her? Will you be able to handle the stress?

    Do not ever blame the person who cheated you, but blame yourself for getting cheated. Everyone can make a choice, if you made a bad move, be responsible for it and not push it against others. Especially, the other party is hurt because of your action.

    3rd-gen ppl are better educated, do not lower yourself and behaves like a 1st or 2nd gen.

    Reflect on your actions.


    1. To be extremely honest, I would not trust anyone who could agree with what you have just said, as would the vast majority.

      There are many ways to aggravate your comments, but the basis of it is “our actions are entirely our own responsibility” and “wrongdoers have feelings too”.

      With regards to the first point, entirely true. Come a certain age, people are expected to be responsible for themselves. However, the assumption that we are to be blamed for our own misstep, when there is malicious and manipulative intent, is flawed and morally incorrect. Some people care more than others, they cannot just turn a blind eye to the drama unfolding before them. On the flipside, a genuine cry for help would easily be ignored with such incidences occurring. It is easy to say what to do and what not to do. But are we truly able to look beyond the veil of deceit to differentiate need and greed? You’d probably have to be pretty apt at reading people, a skill I rarely see in people nowadays.

      Second point, while I remain skeptical, probably true, under the assumption that she is human, and humans have feelings. There is clear intent to cheat and deceive, and given the duration this has been going on, there is no remorse either. Without remorse, there is no stress as a result of public scrutiny, there is only hatred and discontent. If I were in her shoes, very likely I would be self defensive and entitled, stressed because with each passing day my scams become more and more well known, till even angmohs hear about me. In the eyes of the general public, I think giving her this sort of stress is a good thing. Call me uncouth, I’m sure many would agree.

      I have never actually met nor been scammed by this auntie before, what I can say is that what she is doing is immoral, detrimental to other elderly folk in need of real help, and more importantly, her clear lack of remorse. Whether she is stressed or hurt, it does not give her a right to continue manipulating generous hearts. Those who have been cheated have a right to feel maligned, perhaps some take it too far, but they have a right to feel victimized. And it is only right for them to take measures to prevent the same fate befalling others, through word of mouth or media.

      I guess what I’m trying to say is, I think your comment is full of crap.


    2. Auntie sighted today at Maxwell food centre. Btw, she will curse you if you don’t pay up. I was feeling bad until I read this article, thank you.

      >Do not ever blame the person who cheated you, but blame yourself for getting cheated.

      This is the dumbest comment I have ever seen. I’m sure all scammers love you.


  12. Does anyone know about the old uncle who always “lose” his wallet and needs money for bus around Asia square / bayfront MRT area? If you reject him (which I did) he would launch hokkien vulgarities at you. I encountered him twice this yr (and I don’t even work at Asia square)!


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